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Our 5 Best Tapas Recipes


Once confined to Spanish bars, tapas have taken over the world. Traditional versions of the small plates sometimes contain cheese, but not always. (Don’t worry—we’ve got you.) Here, we’ve riffed on a few favorites (pan con tomate, patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo, aceitunas aliñadas, albóndigas) by adding curds and simplifying preparations for American home cooks. Truly, tapas are the perfect summer food; every one of the following recipes takes under 30 minutes to prepare, and none require turning on your oven for more than 5 minutes. So pour some sangria and start planning your al fresco fiesta. Salud!


Five Recipes for a Summer Tapas Spread

smashed tomato toasts with shaved garrotxa cheese
Smashed Tomato Toasts Topped with Garrotxa

A cheesy twist on pan con tomate these simple bites strike just the right balance of sweet, salty, and earthy. 

olives stuffed with fresh goat cheese, manchego, and herbs
Cheese-Stuffed Olives

Stuffed olives are a crowd pleaser that fit many diets. Our version is gussied up with a seasoned two-cheese blend and tossed in a bright, herbal marinade.

baked garlic shrimp topped with herbs and cotija
Baked Garlic Shrimp with Cotija and Herbs

Gambas al ajillo is one rich tapa—here, we’ve added zippy cotija to cut the oily mouthfeel. 

crispy fingerling potatoes with cheese dip

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes with Cheese Dip

Patatas bravas are one of the most ubiquitous bar snacks. We’ve paired them with creamy cheese dip in place of the traditional aioli.

meatballs stuffed with cheese in a smokey tomato sauce

Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs with Smoky Tomato Sauce

 A queso-filled version of albóndigas, these hearty mouthfuls are top-notch party food. 


Need a little more cheese for tapas night? These 8 PDO cheeses from Spain will fit right into any Spanish-inspired spread.

Rebecca Haley-Park

Rebecca Haley-Park is culture's Managing Editor and resident stinky cheese cheerleader. A native New Englander, she holds a BFA in creative writing from University of Maine at Farmington. Her favorite cheese: Harbison

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